Driver finds Texas eliminating vehicle safety inspections 'the most insane thing I've ever heard'

Emissions testing will still be needed in certain counties, most notably those in the Houston area.

Chaz Miller Image
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Bill tossing Texas vehicle inspections awaits Gov. Abbott's signature
State Rep. Cody Harris, R-Palestine, insists Texans will be able to keep themselves safe on the roads despite eliminating vehicle safety inspections.

A bill that would eliminate safety inspections for non-commercial vehicles in Texas has passed through both state legislative chambers.

It would go into effect on Sept. 1 if the bill is signed by Gov. Greg Abbott.

ABC13 spoke with some drivers who aren't sure eliminating the safety inspections is the best idea for road safety. Things like brakes, tire pressure and condition, and wiper blades are currently being examined.

"I can't believe that," Brandy Laakso said. "I think that's the most insane thing I've ever heard."

Mike Yu, who runs Midtown Auto Service on Almeda, had a point-blank answer when asked if eliminating safety inspections would make the roads more dangerous.

"Absolutely," Yu said. "People would be driving down the road with window tint darker than it should be. Tires might not be properly inflated. A lot of items like exhaust would be too loud."

State Rep. Cody Harris, R-Palestine, defended the bill he authored in a statement to ABC13.

"These inspections are a waste of time for Texas citizens and a money-making Ponzi scheme used by some shady dealerships to upsell consumers with unnecessary repairs," Harris wrote.

He also responded to safety concerns by adding, "Texans are responsible, fiercely independent, and I trust them to keep their cars and trucks safe while on the road."

A 2015 report from the Government Accountability Office stated there had been little research on the relationship between safety inspections and accidents, but what did exist at the time was the inability to establish one between the two.

Conversely, a 2018 study from the University of Texas Center for Transportation Research said the safety inspection program in Texas should stick around, as it "saves lives and enhances vehicle safety."

Texas is one of just 13 states still requiring annual safety inspections, according to reporting from our partners at the Houston Chronicle.

When it comes to emission inspections, the 17 counties in Texas that require it will continue to do so even if the bill is signed by Gov. Abbott.

Harris, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, and Montgomery counties all require emissions testing within the ABC13 viewing area.

"At least they have the emissions, but what about your brake lights?" Laakso wondered while contemplating all sides of the bill.

The bill would also add $7.50 to your vehicle's registration fees in order to retain funds previously brought in by safety inspections.

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